Two doping cases hit Games, Canadian men beat U.S. in hockey

Fri Feb 21, 2014 3:19pm EST
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By Mike Collett-White

SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Two athletes tested positive for banned substances on Friday in the Sochi Olympics' first doping cases, but an emotional gold for crisis-torn Ukraine and ice hockey victory for Canada over the United States ensured sporting action had the final say.

There will be few more popular winners at Russia's first Winter Games than the women's biathlon relay team from Ukraine, who edged out the hosts at the end of a week when anti-government protests had left at least 77 people dead.

A Ukrainian skier had already pulled out of Sochi in protest at President Viktor Yanukovich's handling of the crisis, and other athletes from the team said they struggled to focus as their country went up in flames.

"When I was on the podium I couldn't stop crying. I tried to calm down and was trying to hide it behind my skis. They were tears of happiness, not only mine, but of the whole country, our team," team member Valj Semerenko told reporters.

"We are so happy that the people of Ukraine are happy back home and that something good happened for our country," added Olga Pidhrushna.

Ukraine's only other Winter Olympic gold medal was won by figure skater Oksana Baiul in the women's individual event at the Lillehammer Games in 1994.

In the big ice hockey clash, Canada once again prevailed over arch-rivals the United States in their semi-final at the futuristic Bolshoy Ice Dome, denying the Americans revenge for the final of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

A single goal was the thin dividing line between the sides in the end. Jamie Benn, charging toward the slot, redirected Jay Bouwmeester's low shot past a helpless Jonathan Quick.   Continued...

Canada's Shea Weber (R) celebrates with goalie Carey Price after Canada won their men's ice hockey semi-final game against Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, February 21, 2014. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor